We just returned from our second trip to Iberostar at Paraiso. Two years ago, we stayed at the Lindo. Last year, we had a rough trip to the DR, so we headed back to the Riviera Maya. We were 11 people, with 5 rooms at the Maya and 1 at the Grand. Overall, we had a great time and enjoyed this much more than the Melia Tropicale with Royal Service in Punta Cana. There were some SNAFUs, so I’ll try to hit home some of the concerns, in hopes that someone from Ibero reads this and takes them under consideration, and that they help future Ibero guests.
The rooms at the Maya are much nicer than the Lindo, but you should weigh whether that is important since most of your time in the room will be spent asleep… We were in building 60, closest to the beach, which is nice if you want to go to the beach, but if you want to go to the Lobby or to the specialty restaurants near the Lobby, it’s a schlep and a half.
As of December 24, the shuttle to Playa del Carmen was cancelled. When asked why, some staff shrug and say they don’t know, while others say that “now, we have an ATM, so there is no need to go to town”. Yeah, that’s why we went to town, to get cash. C’mon…they want you to shop at the new stores in their mini-mall and don’t want to pay for the shuttle, which, as I understand, became really crowded. I should note here that the shops in the mini-mall do have good prices, better than many vendors post-haggling in PDC, and much better than the vendors that move from lobby to lobby. We found the downtown PDC vendors to be more pushy this year: “hey, come here so I can rip you off” and “come look at my krap”…literally, these were lines they used…and when you try to bargain with some, they get put off, even if you tell them their neighbor is asking 30-50% less for the same stuff…
Internet. The Maya is wired for Ethernet, and there is wireless in the lobby. Despite paying $250-300 per person, per night for ALL-INCLUSIVE, they still want $10/day more for you to use their ISP. It bugs me when Intercontinental and Westin and other full-service hotels ask you to pay (even though places like Courtyard and Springhill give it to you for free), but ALL-INCLUSIVE should be just that. There are other added charges for some activities, which like internet, are a rip-off, but this one should be included…it’s 2008, guys.
On Xmas day, we had three things stolen—from the pool, a hard cover book and a pair of sneakers and from the beach, some Adidas sandals. It happened late in the day, when staff were cleaning up, but the items were not left behind, just unattended for a short period. Can’t say if it was staff or guest, but if I had to guess, it was the former, or one of their buddies that hock stuff on the beach and seam to roam around. Anyhoo, their system of Lost and Found is to tell you to visit your concierge, tell them what you lost, and if they can find in on the master list, you can have it back. Yikes, what happened to going to Lost and Found and gaggling over the stuff…. My advice is: be careful. Apparently, many had cell phones stolen as well, which is obviously a bigger ticket item than used sneaks…
We felt that some of the wait staff was not too friendly. In some specialty restaurants, the waiters just had sour demeanors, while some were friendly and mildly playful. Seems like they should be happy to have this type of job, or get out of the customer service side… Liked: French, Steak, Cajun, Mexican, Japanese at Maya; disliked lunch at pool (especially hours) and Chinese.
While I’m on restaurants, let me chime in on reservations. We arrived on a Sunday and by Monday, reservation for the rest of out 8 day stay were almost non-existent for pre-8 pm seatings. This became perplexing since none of the specialty restaurants were EVER filled, and it seemed that each table would be used once per evening, so the limiting factor was not capacity, but rather the ability of the kitchen staff to cater to a filled dining room. It wasn’t clear whether this was done to steer people to the buffet restaurants. It seems that over holiday periods, guests should only be allowed to make reservations 3-4 days in advance. This would help people who arrive a bit later in the week, but need earlier times for dinner.
Fitness center: hasn’t changed in 2 years and is inadequate for 4 hotels. To use the Grand fitness center, you had to find the right person who would tell you it costs $125/day---holy krap. So you’re stuck in the un-air conditioned fitness ROOM in the Lindo with minimal ventilation, no organization to help people get onto machines, and a fitness hunk who likes to admire himself in the mirrors and really seems disinterested in helping guests. But his mirrors are clean…
Towels—one might have thought that the whole towel card thing would blow over, but apparently not….although at the Grand, they trust the guests…I guess if you pay enough, you can be trusted not to steal the worn, blue pool towels, so they upgrade you to softer yellow ones. Just an annoyance, that’s all. And while we are at the pool, the old get-up-early and urinate-on-your-chaise (with towels and personal items) game is still played…by 8 am, anything in the sun is gone. Maybe just a holiday vacation issue, dunno
Facility access. I hate to be a snob, but if I pay more for the Lindo or Maya, and the signs say that you should not have access to things like the wave pool or the lazy river if you are from the ‘other’ hotels (Paraiso Beach and del Mar), then I shouldn’t feel like I have to ask “security” (and I use that in its loosest sense) to enforce that rule so I don’t have to wait to use the lazy river with my son while people with blue or yellow wrist bands go round and round. Maybe it was the clientele for the vacation period (the model for the ugly American label reared its head several times), but help me out here, cuz our pool was packed and the del mar/beach pool was not….
The grounds are even nicer now than 2 years ago, which was post-Wilma devastation. There is a tremendous effort to keep them up and the foliage, vegetation, etc is stellar. This group of staff from the resort should be really proud. They work hard, seem friendly, and make the resort so appealing.
Keep in mind, like others, I’m hitting the negatives. The resort is great and I highly recommend it—it’s a 4 of 5 stars. If it weren’t our 5th or 6th trip to Mexico, we might be eager to go back next year, but sometimes you gotta break the mold. Go to the Maya, and tell them how they can improve it….and call me if you find my wife’s sneakers…
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located directly on the beautiful beach of Playa Paraiso (Mexico). All junior suites with Jacuzzi, DVD player, upgraded amenities. Exclusive dining plus dine around privileges at over 16 restaurants, 17 full service bars. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Paraiso Maya Hotel Playa Paraiso
- Iberostar Playa Paraiso
- Iberostar Riviera Maya
- Iberostar Hotel Paraiso Maya
- Iberostar Maya
- Iberostar Grand Paraiso
- Iberostar Paraiso Maya Playa Paraiso, Riviera Maya